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African American Inventor Thomas Elkins — The Commode (Toilet) Patent

African American Inventor Thomas Elkins — The Commode (Toilet) Patent

February is Black History Month, also known as African American History Month. Although February is the shortest month of the year, with only 28 days, 24/7 Headline would like to provide knowledge about big things Black Americans have invented and/or accomplished. In no particular order, we will provide information showing the contributions despite obvious challenges, of Black Americans in our nation’s history.

Black History Month was created in the United States in 1926 and began as a week, which was referred to Negro History Week. This week was the second week of February and was created by Historian Carter Godwin Woodson, a black American who also was an author, journalist and founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Beginning in 1976, with President Gerald Ford, all U.S. Presidents have designated February as Black History Month.

24/7 Headline News will begin with Thomas Elkins, the Black American inventor who patented the “Chamber Commode” or the toilet. Although similar units were used for thousands of years, most were reserved for royalty. Although few were heard of in more ancient times, one of the earliest known was a flushing device Sir John Harrington created a for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth. This on was beleived by historians to set the path for future toilets in England and in the United States.

The toilet continued to evolve, with Thomas Elkins patenting an improved chamber commode on January 9, 1872. His patent included a bureau, mirror, book-rack, washstand, table, easy chair, and chamber stool. This and possibly those that preceded and followed, inspired the 1885 invention of the single-piece ceramic toilet, by Thomas William Twyford.

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Staff Writer

This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization